Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's a miracle that I'm still alive!


I want to let you know, only about 30 minutes ago, I nearly DIED! It's my companion's turn to be "senior companion" for a week, and as a result of that, he's driving. On our way to the library to write home, he swerved into the other lane without looking and got like 2 feet away from this massive truck which had to slam on his brakes! Tires squealed and everything.... At first I was a little bit mad, but I have definitely made those mistakes many a time when Dad or Mom has been in the car, and I tried to act like they would have. I started to think after this experience, and a thought hit me very hard: Being a parent must be terrifying! So, Dad, thank you for being patient and risking your life daily when I drove:)
Dad! You are amazing! How did the triathlon and everything go? You and Mike P and Mike F are awesome, and I'm pretty sure that Mike P has lost some serious weight since I have been on the mission. That is awesome! Did you enjoy the opportunity?
To answer your questions, I have not been able to sing in church. I don't know if I am supposed to! My companion definitely wouldn't want to do it with me, so I'd have to go solo... plus, I'm not sure when I would have time to practice or anything of the sort. Have I told you that I have been able to play the guitar 2 times since I've been out? It was a saving grace. Both times were in the middle of the most stressful weeks of the entire mission, and I know the Lord provided an oasis where I could de-stress and play a song or two for the less active members and investigators that allowed me to play. It was an incredible opportunity.
I am so excited to get the letters you will send! I cannot tell you how giddy I get every time that I get mail! It is amazing. 
I wanted to share a couple miracles just quickly though! So this week, 19 years after being separated from Church, Chr*s was re-baptized. I can still remember meeting him the very first day I came into Fort Madison. At the time he was bitter and completely opposed to our advances with ANYTHING having to do with the church, but he would always come and help out with any service project that we needed from him.

To see him soften over the past 4 months has been nothing short of miraculous. This man who once was calloused and offended is now tender and testifying to everyone he comes in contact with about the truthfulness of our Savior's divine message. His baptism was powerful, and the Spirit was undeniable. As he stood to bear his testimony, shortly after his confirmation and ordination to the office of a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, his eyes were wet and he admonished how sorry he was that he didn't allow himself the blessings of the gospel sooner. My own body coursed with joy and electricity as I witnessed him go underneath the water and come back up. He actually was cleaner. I don't know how else to explain it! Elder Adamson, a recent convert friend who recently received his endowments, and the aunt and uncle that Chr*s has been living with have been invaluable assets to Chrs's return to his covenants! He now calls me "Lebrown" as a joke (like Lebron James... Though I'm still bad at basketball). I now call him "brother".
One last miracle for the road. We taught a lesson in Spanish yesterday! We met a man named Ju*n, and he speaks very little English, but we came back to teach him. Essentially all I could say in Spanish was that I know the gospel is true and can help Ju*n! I read him out of the Spanish pamphlet Joseph Smith's experience, and testified again and again. So many times as we were talking, I desperately prayed, "Heavenly Father, I don't know Spanish at all! What is this word?" And suddenly, miraculously, into my mind would pop the exact word I needed to say! Ju*n is so prepared, and so we were sent for one reason or another.
I love the Gospel! I know it is true.

Please, everyone who reads this, go back and read Elder Gerald Causse's talk in conference. Follow his advice! He is correct! I know what he said is true and vital for member missionary work.
I love you all!:) Keep smiling big!
Elder Brown

Sunday, October 13, 2013

3 Blind Mice


I love you all so much! I received a lot of emails this week and I can't help but be soooooo grateful for all of those! Just communicating with you all brings me so much joy!
Dad, you are a buff man. I am convinced that you are in ten times better shape than I am. I can run 3 miles just barely! I feel like such a fatty lately, but you inspire me to be better.
News in the mission, our area is splitting! We will likely start biking soon, so I might need another check from my bank account to try and purchase a cheap one out here. The area will split in about 2 weeks or so. That'll be good for the little bit of chub that I've accumulated out here on the mission:)
We have had such a cool week out here! The highlight of each week in the past month has been teaching Chr*s. Chr*s is a 40 year old man who left 19 years ago, and recently, through the example and friendship of a recent convert as well as a ton of work and humility on his part is preparing for baptism on October 4th! The mission president has given us permission to teach him the gospel once more and to help him prepare for baptism. He is amazing, and he has inspired me to be a better missionary! He has been out to teach lessons with us about 4 or 5 times now. That gets really funky on our key indicators. There is no box to mark for "investigator present" lessons!
I don't have much new in the way of things to tell you other than that we have now caught 3 separate mice. They have been scampering around our kitchen, and no countertop is safe around here! They have already desecrated my bananas and defiled my corn chips. It's all out war now. I've included a picture of the one we call "Harry the Bandit". He is number three caught in this little glue trap. Don't be taken by his cuteness. He is pure evil. Or was... We had to get rid of him... Elder Lindhardt is the exterminator. I don't have the heart to kill the little guys, even if they have eaten my stuff.
We have taught the plan of salvation a lot this past week as well, so I'm including a picture of our visual aids that we use to help explain the spiritual body and the physical body. That is super fun:)
A scripture that has really taken me lately is Alma 42. It has really helped me to understand WHY we need Jesus Christ so badly in our life. I've read quite a bit this last week, and it has strengthened my testimony a lot. Justice and Mercy. That's where the plan of salvation lies!
I love you all! I know the gospel is true. I know that there are people being prepared in every town and city across the world! Acts 16:14
Love, Elder Brown